Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Day that would be etched in my memory Forever.

We all finally decided to head to Sikkim (after considering tens of thousands of destinations like purulia, tawang, auli, vaishno devi and dunno what else) for the customary final year trip :D. Am really glad that we went ahead with Sikkim.

So, all 13 of us left for Gangtok in merely half an hour of planning. I dont want to write my trip report but there was a day that needs special mention, lets jump to it. This day, began really early (read 4.30 AM) at Lachung which is some 120 kms and 8 hrs drive from Gangtok. Take into consideration the temperature which was around 4-5 degress. We had to leave for Katau, the place where we were assured of finding snow. So, we left at around 5.30 am only to find that we cannot reach Katau because our crappy jeeps could not run on snow coverered roads as the tyres were skidding. We stopped at about 10 kms from Katau and played like little children on the road itself for 3 hours. Really it was nature at its best. First rays of sun on snow covered mountains, pine trees coverered with snow. I mean I am at a loss of words to express the scenic beauty that we experienced. It was not India for me.

On the way back to Lachung, one of the tyres got punctured (same tyre 2nd time by now) and it took an hour for the driver to change it as neither did he have a spare tyre nor the jack. And this delay was the reason for the events that took place later during the day (atleast some people feel so). Then we went to Yumthang (or Yunthang, wotever) to find that valley of flowers was all barren that time. Thus, nothing much to say about it. We just clicked some snaps and came back. I am damn sure that we have 7-8 GB of snaps for the entire trip...phew. We started for Gangtok at 3.30 pm and from here begins the adventure that all of us wound never forget.

After about 10 mins of the ride, the two cars that were carrying us collided and thus, showing some ominous signs. When we were 50-60 kms away from Gangtok, the radiator of one of the cars got blown up and was beyond repair. This happened at 7.30issh pm. Let me write something about the setting that we were in. It was pitch dark, you cannot imagine a more blacker (if that is a word) surrounding. We could not see anything, not even our faces. We did not know which way was the mountain and which way the cliff. There was not a single car moving on that road at that time, not one during 5 hours that we were there. It was like a set straight from some movie when they show that the actor is left stranded on the road at midnight, finding no one help, all by himself. It could have been an ideal horror film location, just the sound effects were missing. Next started our ordeal to find a new car which could take us to Gangtok. We looked for about an hour but no one was willing to take us at that time of the day. So, finally we had to call a car from Gangtok and it took 4 hrs to come. As soon as we were about to start, the psychotic, idiotic driver of our car found that that tyre got punctured again (3rd time) and he took another hour to mend it. So we finally left at 12 midnight from the realm of darkness.

Both the drivers drove fast or rather dangerously enough to cover 45 kms in an hour. It was like a roller coaster ride for us, swaying side by side. Then, the only thing which was left, happened, LANDSLIDE and there was a road block, we could not go ahead. This is at 1.30 am. Nothing to be done, we all sat in the car waiting for the day to break, so that some one comes to our rescue, intimates the police and gets the road open. It was about half an hour when we started hearing some loud noises of rocks falling. The darkness quotient was exactly same as mentioned in the above paragraph. We could hear thumping sounds of rocks, ground was shaking, but we could not see anything. We did not know as to where all this was happening, how much far from us. Nothing. The situation was such that we could help but prayer for our safety. We did not know whether we would reach Gangtok or not. It was so cold that we could not get outside of the car and it was so tacky inside that we could not sit in the car. You can well imagine how do you feel when you sit cramped in the same position for 9 hours. But there was nothing we could do, not knowing whether we would be alive or under some huge boulder. We waited for the dawn to usher in, lucky enough to be alive, it was a bit calm by then, and we were awestruck to find that all that rock falling was taking place at just about 100 m from where we were. So the snenario was landslide-100 m-our car-100m-another landslide. We were sandwiched in between huge mass of boulders on either side. The 2nd one that took place was more deadlier, localites said that it would take 10 days to get the road motorable again as the whole mountain had crashed and would require blasting to clear. I well believe that you can imagine the potency of the situation that we were into.

It does not end here. In the morning, luckily a tanker reached the spot and the driver told us that we could walk for some distace to find a taxi. We decided this was more wise and thus started. We hiked for 6 kms to find a taxi that would take us to Gangtok. I enjoyed hiking a lot when I was in US for my intern. But hiking after a whole night of agony and anguish and sleeplessness is BAD. Finally, we managed to make it to Gangtok at 10 am in the morning, when we were supposed to reach at 7 last evening.

It was adventure at its best for us. We experienced everything that we could have. We played in snow, got stranded in dark, sandwiched between landslides, hiked for 6 kms and yeah, savored my best momo ever, early in the morning after the hike at Tashi View Point. But am sure, I would not want to be in that situation again, for sure.

P.S.: There are many anecdotes to be mentioned about the reaction of the fellow passengers, but some other time.

Cheers to our trip to Sikkim.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Installing ns2 on Linux.

First step is to get the source. The source can be found at:

If you are an expert, then you can download all the parts separately otherwise get everthing at once and download the allinone source from:
Currently, the latest version in ns-2.33

After downloading the source, perform the following steps:
1. Log in as root.
2. Copy the .tar.bz2 file to the /usr/src directory.
3. Untar the file using tar xvzf "filename"
4. Go to the /ns-allinone-2.33 directory and run ./install. This would install ns2 into your system.
After this, we need to add certain paths to the PATH variable, so that ns2 can be run from anywhere.
5. Thus, perform PATH=$PATH:/usr/src//ns-allinone-2.33/bin:/usr/src/ns-allinone-2.33/tcl8.4.18/unix:/usr/src/ns-allinone-2.33/tk8.4.18/unix:
Export PATH

We need to store these things in the PATH permanently as normally these are stored just for the current session. So for this, we need to add the same thing exactly in one of files mentioned below:
Add "PATH=$PATH:/usr/src//ns-allinone-2.33/bin:/usr/src/ns-allinone-2.33/tcl8.4.18/unix:/usr/src/ns-allinone-2.33/tk8.4.18/unix:
Export PATH" to /etc/bash_bashrc for openSUSE
If you can find .bashrc file in the root folder then add the same thing at the end of it.

Hopefully, this would work and your ns2 is now ready for use.

I would also like to mention the best tutorial for beginners: It is the MArc Greis Tutorial and it can be found at:

If you want to download the ns manual, it can be done from:

This manual would help you understand how ns2 works and all the intricate details about it.

Hope it turns out to be useful for people new to ns2.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

MUKTI '09 - Zenith Scaled.

Well.. its been a high time that I write a blog on MUKTI' 09 since I am the President of the Group which had organized it, i.e., GNU/Linux Users' Group, NIT Durgapur. So, today I finally sit to write about it. I would say that MUKTI' 09 has been one of the most important if not the single most important event of my college life at NIT Durgapur.

At the very onset, I would like to mention that MUKTI' 09 was in true terms for the very first time a National Level "Technical Symposium" on GNU/Linux and Free Software. It was not a cake walk organizing and we had to go through a lot of tumultuous times. The first hurdle was that of getting the college administration to agree to our demand of having MUKTI organized seperately rather than with some other event of college. Surprisingly enough, the Director agreed to it fairly easily. The catch being, Govt. of West Bengal suddenly wanted to promote Linux and Open Source in West Bengal and our college was one of the prospective Nodal Centers for this cause, so there would be influx of funds in the college.

Anyways, whatever the case, we managed to have a stand alone MUKTI. For the very first time, we had MUKTI which spanned across one week, right from Monday, 2nd February, 2009 to Sunday, 8th February, 2009 and we promoted it as "FOSS Week". We had the inauguration on 2nd February and had Prof. Debesh Das, H'ble Minister In Charge, Dept. of IT, Govt. of WB, gracing the occassion as the Chief Guest. This was another first in the history of NIT Durgapur that a Minister had come for the inauguration of any event organized by the students' body. But as happens with white collar people, our schedule for that day got hay wire as the Minister was 3 hours late and due to this delay Mr. Shyam Sundar, M.D., Durgapur Steel Plant, could not attend the inauguration. We also organized a Sit and Draw competition and a Quiz for the school students with FOSS being the central theme for both events. The attendance for the inauguration was way beyond our expectations, with many faculty members joining in to hear the Minister speak. Students from DAV School won in both the events and it was a very successful and satisfying 1st day for us.

For the next two days, we had Workshops organized in association with NRC-FOSS. The following workshops were organized:
1. How to write C/C++ programs in GNU/Linux.
2. Python - an interpreted programming language.
3. FOSS Electronic Design Automation Tools.
4. FOSS CAD/CAM Tools.
5. Collaborative Software Development using SVN.
6. Computer Typesetting for Engineers using LATEX.
7. SCILAB, an alternative for MATLAB on GNU/Linux.
The workshops had a fairly good number of students attending them. The best among them was the Python Workshop which was taken by Shreyank Gupta, a final year student of CSE, NIT DGP and a Core Member of GLUG, NIT DGP.

For the next 3 days, we had many competitions, ranging from 2 programming competitions, a system admin competition, a quiz, web development competition, paper and project presentation. But the highlight of this year's MUKTI was the emphasis which we had put on Talks/Workshops. We had talks from stalwarts in the world of FOSS. They are:
1. How to run a successful free software business - Abhas Abhinav, CEO, Deeproot Linux.
2. How to contibute to FOSS - Satya Komarigiri, a GSOC participant.
3. Ruby on Rails - Anurag Patel,
4. KDE - Pradeepto Bhattacharya.
5. Managing your online Profile - Yu Yu Din,
6. Indian FOSS Community, Indranil Dasgupta, ilugcal.
We were really indebted to have Abhas Abhinav and Pradeepto Bhattacharya, the FOSS Rockstars among us.

Oh ya, we also had a Light Painting Show by Patrick Rochon and Nicolas Maranda, from Canada. Their group, ALPHA C9D is incidentally the only group in the world who perform such magic with the camera. They say that they just play with the shutter speed of the camera but what they did, completely left all us enthralled and mesmerised. I mean I have never seen the crowd shouting "Once more...Once more" twice. It was truly an out of the world experience for those who attended it. It was intended to lighten the mood of the crowd after those series of events and talks and it exactly did that.

Well, we did falter on the participation front. But I believe what we have achieved is far far more satisfying than just getting the people to attend the talks unwilling just to fill in. We have inspired the opening of 3 LUGs in NIT Agartala, NIT Jamshedpur and Kalyani Govt. Engg. College. This is the real victory of ours and we are totally proud of it because we never performed gimmicks to alure people to participate and were through out transparent. I believe that these things would really translate in getting many more people to participate in MUKTI next year. We have sowed the seeds and would definitely have the flowers blooming next year. Even the participation was not that bad when I hear what happens in other FOSS conferences. I am happy because we did what had set out to do and never ever compromised on out and out promotion of GNU/Linux and Free Software. We could have easily done away with the talks and include many crowd pulling events, but we did not do so because what we did would provide us with long term benefits rather than short term satisfaction. I am already hearing that the present 2nd year of our college has become very enthusiastic about using Linux and is very quickly migrating from Windows. This has been our primary aim, to Linuxise NIT Durgapur and we are on the right track.

I would really like to thank all the speakers who graced MUKTI' 09. An event can never be possible without sponsors/partners and yes, we did manage to find some during these times of Recession/Economic Slow down :D. We thank, NIXI, IOTA, Accenture, NRC-FOSS, Career Launcher, BSNL, HP, Karukrit, Linux for You, New Scientist, O Reilly, indyarocks, Dominoes, Cafe Coffee Day. Last but not the least, I would like to extend my sincere and heartfelt thanks to the IT Dept, NIT Durgapur, especially, HOD Sir, Prof. S. Choudhury for his unfaltering support to us. Seriously MUKTI would not have been the MUKTI it was without your support, Sir. I dont want to thank my committee because I feel we all did what we were responsible to do and what was expected of us. We all rose to the occassion and worked tirelessly towards making MUKTI '09, a SUCCESS.

On the personal front, MUKTI '09 has been the best "subject" in my curriculla at NIT Durgapur. It has taught me which none of the text books could have done. I learnt something everyday, since I started working for MUKTI. It helped me acquire leadership skills, taught me how to work as a team, helped me shed my inhibitions and become a little more extrovert than I was, I also learned the way of talking with the most conservative people you could find, the professors and staff of NIT DGP and in turn my Bengali has improved considerably :). Most importantly, I have learned the skill of getting things done. Being in an Engg College, I always wanted to acquire some managerial skills too and MUKTI' 09 was the platform which helped me do so. I met so many different kinds of people and have made some of my best friends on this journey called MUKTI '09.

Now, let me tell you the real reason, why I wrote all this today. We had a GLUG meeting today and after a long time I did not preside over it. It was the 3rd years who co-ordinated everything today. It felt a bit awkward to be on the other side again after so long. I had this itching sensation and felt that "that" time has come which is dreaded by most of us, the last days of college life and the time to GO. I may sound greedy and self centered but I did not like it at all. I am feeling very nostalgic right now but cannot help it. I am very very proud of what we have done and am pretty sure that my juniors would continue the good work which we have started. We, final years always discussed that what would happen to GLUG, NIT DGP after we leave but now I am satisfied that there are more able people than us to take care of it. I congratulate all and wish all the very best for future endeavors.

Well has been a fairly loooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnggggggggg blog but jab likhta hun toh dil khol ke likhta hun.....

Signing off...... finally :).....uhhh

Monday, December 1, 2008


After lot of efforts, finally we would be having an independent MUKTI. It would be held from 6-8 Feb, 2009. MUKTI is an annual national level technical symposioum on GNU/Linux and Free Software. It is organized by Linux Users' Group, NIT Durgapur.

There would be a plethora of events and talks/workshops. So Be there and Celebrate FOSS with us.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

First Taste of Copyright Infringement.

Hello All. This post is a piece of news for everyone.

In Virginia Tech, we all have ethernet connections in our dorms and the download speed easily touches 750 Kbps. We all were happy seeing that and as usual started downloading movies and tv series as was expected of anyone studying in an engineering college back in India.

It was about a week after we had come and had already downloaded around 50 movies and some 11 seasons of various series, when we got a mail from one of co-ordinator professors that we have breached Virginia Tech Policy # so and so and one of the possible consequences of that was being sent back to India.
It was a forwarded mail from the person who tracks the network out here and the mail said something like this:

Title: Accepted
Infringement Source: BitTorrent
Initial Infringement Timestamp: 28 May 2008 00:00:50 GMT
Recent Infringement Timestamp: 28 May 2008 00:00:50 GMT
Infringing Filename: Accepted[2006]DvDrip[Eng]-aXXo
Infringing File size: 735180504
Infringers IP Address:
Infringers DNS Name:
Infringing URL:

/* Names Mentioned Here */

It has come to our attention that copyrighted material is or was
available for public access from a computer in your room. Specifically,
(a) copyrighted copy(ies) of...


...has (have) been found available to the public via network connections
numbered TP02A 232 Newman Hall and TP02B 233 Newman Hall. The computer
plugged into these connections, at various times that include the
timestamp above, has MAC address number 00-16-D3-9F-E3-91.

It is our understanding this (these) copy(ies) is (are) not authorized
for reproduction or distribution at your site. This notice is sent to
all roommates in the identified room. It pertains to the individual
whose computer is connected to the previously-listed portal (or Ethernet

Unauthorized use of Virginia Tech communications facilities and
disregard for intellectual and artistic property rights are violations
of Virginia Tech's Policies: #7000 - "Acceptable Use of Computer and
Communication Systems" and, "Acceptable Use of Information Systems at
Virginia Tech".

Additionally, ***>this activity violates federal and/or state copyright
laws and may constitute a criminal violation, subjecting you to both
criminal and civil legal charges.<*** Information on related legal
issues my be reviewed at the URL:

If you do not send an e-mail reply to this message within twenty-four
hours (one business day) of the time this note was sent, commenting on
your involvement or knowledge of this incident and confirming you have
ceased unauthorized sharing of copyrighted files, your network access
will be curtailed. It will not be reactivated until you send e-mail to to confirm that the problem with your computer has
been resolved.

FOR FURTHER ACTION. Judicial Affairs may be contacted by phone at 1-3790
or by e-mail to

I was shocked to see how accurate the system was even telling which movie it had been and the software and everything.
We all had hearts in our mouths and contacted our professor immediately about this issue. He was very calm about the whole episode and said that this happens every year as students from India are not aware of such things so we need not to worry much. Then he explained that the problem was not in downloading but rather that some one was uploading copyright stuff from the Virginia Tech Network.
So, guys please remember that this is not India and the copyright laws are real strict here and we do not have the liberty to do anything and everything as back home.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Windows XP Lives, Thanks to Linux

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols puts his thumb on what really happened to spur Microsoft's change of mind on sparing Windows XP: The smashing success of Asus and others' Linux-powered UMPCs and mini-notebooks caught Microsoft completely by surprise. It turned out people wanted inexpensive, hard-working Linux laptops rather than overpriced, underpowered Vista PCs. If anyone thought this was a flash in the pan, that Asus just hit it lucky once, they haven't been paying attention. Intel is putting big bucks into its Atom family of processors, which have been designed for UMPCs, or as Intel would have it, MIDs. Intel has encouraged both the computer makers and the Linux companies in its Moblin initiative to run desktop Linux. The Linux companies have picked up on this. Canonical, Ubuntu's dad company, has come up with an UMPC-specific version of Ubuntu 8.04, the latest version of this popular Linux distribution, for Intel Atom UMPCs. At Computex, by my count, more than a dozen new UMPCs were announced both from vendors you've never heard of and from big name companies like Acer and Asus. You can also expect to see Dell releasing its 'mini-Inspiron' with Ubuntu by June's end."

Friday, May 30, 2008

MS Office 2007 to Support ODF but not OOXML

Microsoft Office 2007 will support ODF in full, but not fully implement OOXML. Office 2007 will also support PDF 1.1, PDF/A, and Microsoft’s competing fixed-text format, called XML Paper Specification.

In a surprise move, the company also announced that it intends to participate in the OASIS ODF working group and the corresponding ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1 Subcommittee 34 working groups for ODF, as well as the ISO Technical Committee 171 working group for PDF, said Doug Mahugh, senior product manager for Microsoft Office.

However, the company is not quick to embrace its own creation. Mahugh stated that Microsoft would not implement the final ISO version of OOXML until Office 14 ships at an unstated date in the future. This variant of OOXML was designated ISO/IEC 29500 at the time it was certified as an ISO International standard in April.

I wonder how long it will take them to implement the enormous spec.